Tuesday, October 7, 2008

More Jobs, Now!

Okay, so much for lovely memories, it's back to ugly reality and reality seems to be the one thing this country has been avoiding, but we can’t continue to pull the shades over our eyes for much longer. Banks and brokerage houses are failing all around us. Trillions of dollars in bailout money has been added to the nation’s debt burden, families too numerous to count are being driven from their homes. Maybe it’s time to get back to the basics – like good jobs, the primary component of a sustainable family life. But our economy is never going to be anywhere near what it needs to be until this country figures out how to provide work at a decent pay for at least most of the men and women who want to work.

The amount of debt for the typical middle-income family, earning about $45,000, grew by a third from 2001-2004, according to the Center for American Progress. The reason for all this added debt was the rising cost of housing, higher education, health care and transportation. At the same time, wages grew just slightly, if at all. It’s going to take more than work, obviously and don’t even ask about the debt burden of the federal government.

The fact is that there haven’t been enough good paying jobs to sustain what most working Americans view as an adequate standard of living and that is the fundamental flaw in the U.S. economic system. This latest financial meltdown has created widespread outrage over the excessive compensation of top executives, so where have we been??? The rich have been running the table for the better part of the last 30 to 40 years! The earnings of the average men in their 30s have remained almost flat for the past four decades, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Accordingly, disaster was avoided by the wives and mothers entering the workplace and by embracing huge amounts of debt for everything from home mortgages, cars, clothing and vacations to food, college tuition and medical expenses. And guess what? The middle-class and working families are up against the wall and the only way to continue financing a reasonable quality of life is through a paycheck. But nearly 160,000 jobs were lost in September alone. More than three-quarters of a million have vanished over the past nine months.

According to people who know a lot more than I do, the economy won’t be saved by bailing out Wall Street and waiting for that day that never comes, when the benefits trickle down to ordinary Americans. It won’t be saved until we get serious about putting vast numbers of Americans back to work in jobs that are reasonably secure and pay a sustaining wage.

We have a lot of rebuilding to do; we need to put more of us to work rebuilding our country’s collapsing infrastructure, revitalize the public school system, working to create more energy self-sufficiency and try, for a change, to do a re-take on an economy that still leans strongly in favor of the rich.

Now, let’s hear the politicians talk about that for a while and stop the name calling and slander, the “it’s all about” me and “he’s the bad guy” crap and start working together to redeem this country before it’s too late – for us – you know, the guys at the bottom of the pole!


Dogwalkmusings said...

You know, I'm at the point now where I'm beginning to wonder if anything will ever change. It's like my telling Bacchus to quit watering the flowers while he stands there looking at me saying, "what!"

Margie's Musings said...

You know, I agree. Without good jobs for the middle class (and even the low income people who want to work) we are digging ourselves into a hole we can never get out of.

And we have done it again...we have let this president rush us into a program out of fear that is not going to work. Have you seen the stock market today?

bobbie said...

Absolutely right. And I've been trying to push the idea of Green Jobs, which can help solve two problems - putting people to work, and working on the environment. wecansolveit.org

robin andrea said...

The weird thing about this economic crisis is that a lot of it is about paper money, empty promises that were backed by no assets at all. It's about the very rich gambling to get richer, and losing. The cost to the world's economy, at the moment is something like $60 trillion. I highly recommend the October 3rd edition of This American Life. An amazing explanation of where we are. It's not good. We'll be lucky if the middle class survives. Yes, we need jobs, but we are last in line. Sadly.

robin andrea said...

I meant to add, if (and I dearly hope) Barack Obama is elected, he might be able to come up with some ideas that will assist and save the middle class, and lift up those in poverty. But if he does not win, it's not going to be good for us at all.

Dogwalkmusings said...

Along the lines of Bobbie's comment, Obama's idea of creating jobs by rebuilding our infrastructure is a good one - and may well come to pass of he's elected. I'd like more detail on that because we can't afford to get so bogged down in the present mess we forget to look ahead!

June Saville said...

Hi Sylvia
Our Reserve Bank in Australia has just reduced lending rates by a whole one percent, leaving everyone gobsmacked. First time this has happened in 16 years.
Then the second surprise - the banks decided to give the mortgage holders 80 per cent of that increase, or $A240 on the average monthly mortgage payment! A lot of semi-relieved people!
The stock market shot up yesterday and our dollar paused in its rocketing fall.
The new government is also talking about guaranteeing bank deposits up to $20,000. No details yet.
This in an economy with a huge surplus and a well regulated banking system.
Another marker of what's really going on everywhere.
Interesting times
June in Oz